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By Alberto Jessurun / August 25, 2021 / Blog

Using Digital Signage to Live Stream Ads

The future (and present) of video surveillance technology in marketing

Key Takeaways
  • Advertisers are finding ways to use video surveillance technology to connect with consumers
  • Facial recognition technology can assess the age, gender, and more of a consumer
  • Artificial intelligence can choose which ad to display on a digital sign based on the consumer's physical appearance
  • The technology is already being used in some stores
  • The video surveillance information used in advertising is anonymized
Businesses are turning to video surveillance technology to solve a myriad of problems — spotting theft, monitoring changes in fire temperatures, and even reducing the risk of injuries on industrial job sites. Now this technology is creeping into the world of advertising. 

Advertisers have been using live streaming in unique ways for years. A growing number of businesses of all sizes live stream over social media to gain attention for their products, present how-to videos, and answer questions from their consumers. But video surveillance technology has the potential to take live streaming a step forward. 

By integrating facial recognition technology and live stream advertising, businesses can harness the potential of targeted advertisements that reach consumers right where they're standing in the real world. This guide looks at the potential of this technology and explains how some advertisers are leveraging video surveillance and facial recognition to improve their advertising efforts right now.

Targeted marketing

Targeted marketing is not new. Savvy advertisers have always thought about the people they want to buy their products and placed ads where that target market is most likely to see or hear them. Similarly, as the number of channels on TV increased, marketers quickly started collecting information on the demographics of people who were watching certain shows, and they targeted their marketing accordingly. 

The internet took this idea and ran with it. Now, big companies collect billions of pieces of data about consumers. Browsing history and social media advertising allow marketers to precisely match ads with consumer preferences. Outside of the virtual world, marketers think about who's likely to see ads, but new technology is going to allow a significantly greater degree of customization and live targeting. 

Facial recognition in marketing

Now, when consumers walk into a store, a video surveillance tool can assess their age, gender, and other characteristics. Then, it can use those details to determine which ads to show the consumer. This technology can be applied when a consumer is strolling through a mall, looking at the refrigerator doors of their local supermarket, or walking past the windows of a restaurant. 

Digital signage in marketing

These kinds of ads require interactive digital signage to run, and that technology is well established today. All kinds of businesses and non-profit organizations like schools use digital signage in their marketing displays. 

Retailers use digital signs to showcase products and promote sales, restaurants use digital signage to display menus and photos of food, and schools use signage that works as scoreboards but also broadcasts instant replays or video advertisements from sponsors. Many cities have invested in digital signage to advertise tourism and special events in their areas.

This technology is interactive, and it can be altered in real-time. During COVID, for example, some schools and churches used digital signage displays to live stream graduation ceremonies and church services. This setup facilitated social distancing by letting groups of people watch the broadcasts outside rather than crowding together inside. 

Customized marketing with digital signage

To make the leap to customized marketing with digital signage, organizations need a technology that includes cameras, sensors, and digital screens. 

The cameras detect the face approaching the sign and analyze the consumer's age, gender, and emotional state. At the same time, the computers running the show bring in information about the weather outside and the time of day. Then, artificial intelligence decides which ad is likely to be the most appealing to the consumer. 

While many of the live stream applications described above require someone to actively run the digital signage, this customized marketing process happens automatically. No one needs to hold a live stream camera or make broadcast decisions. The business installs the technology, and then, they sit back and reap the rewards. 

Fine-tuning customized advertising

The AI involved with this technology uses machine learning to constantly improve the efficacy of the advertising. For example, it tracks conversion rates and details like how many times a woman in a certain age group bought the advertised product in the early evening on a hot day. Then, it uses this information to finetune its marketing efforts.  

This technology can also decide what ads to show a consumer after they have chosen a product. For example, it may show someone a frozen pizza after they grab a pack of beer. It may show them stir-in electrolyte powder after they have put water in their cart. 

Of course, rather than just using the previous choice to determine which ad to show, this technology continues to consider elements about that consumer that it has learned through its facial recognition technology. 

The use of video surveillance and live stream advertising today

This is already happening in some Walgreens. In some big cities, these stores have rolled out digital screens on refrigerator doors that have the ability to customize their advertisements based on how a consumer looks. Between the customized ads, these screens show video advertisements from some of the vendors that have their products on this company's shelves.

Ethics of video surveillance

Treading into the world of video surveillance brings up some ethical questions. These screens are anonymized, meaning they do not track individual people's faces or the purchases that they make. If Judy Smith walks into a store, for example, the video surveillance technology decides which ads to show her based on her age, gender, and emotions, but it does not remember her. 

The next time she walks into the store, the technology does not say, "Here's Judy, Let's advertise some diet soda because that's what she bought last time." Instead, it simply looks at her face again and starts the process from the beginning.

Contact Unisol International to learn about video surveillance, digital signage, and more

At Unisol International, we help businesses get set up with the technology they need to succeed in the digital present and the future. We help you find digital solutions including video surveillance and signage technology, and we can also help you set up and implement that technology. To learn more, contact us today.

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